Harry Reid, the longtime Democratic US senator, died on Tuesday at his home in Nevada at the age of 82.
Reid climbed the political ladder to become one of the most influential US lawmakers, serving four years in the House of Representatives and 30 years in the Senate. He was Senate majority leader from 2007 to 2015.
He was instrumental in ushering through Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievements, including the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Reid courted controversy in 2011 with his involvement in an effort by a Chinese power giant, ENN Energy Holdings, to build a $6 billion solar farm and panel manufacturing plant in the Nevada desert.
He was one of the project’s most prominent advocates, helping recruit the company during a trip to China that year.
His son Rory Reid, a lawyer with a prominent Las Vegas firm that represented ENN, helped it locate a 3,600-hectare desert site bought for well below its appraised value.
The Langfang-based ENN hoped to build what would be the largest solar energy complex in America.
But in 2013 the Chinese company terminated the plan after failing to find a buyer for the electricity.
The project, 150km from Las Vegas, would have generated enough power for 200,000 homes and created 2,200 permanent jobs.
Reid, the third of four children, was born in 1939 and grew up in the small Nevada town of Searchlight.
He graduated from Utah State University and earned a law degree from George Washington University, before returning to Nevada to embark on a career in politics. He was first elected to the House in 1982.
- George Russell